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There are any number of causes for bad golf: years of a fluky swing, an inability to hit long off the tee, struggles with your short irons, the list goes on. But for some golfers out there, they’ve made it work against their buddies by possessing a single strength, and then mastering it. They’ve figured out the short game.

For some, the short game isn’t just part of their golf game, it is their golf game. The first several hundred yards of a given hole can go any number of ways, but once they’re within 50 yards, they’re home free.

If these any (or all) of these phrases describe you, we’ve got the perfect side bet for you: the Murphy. Here’s how it works.

The Big Picture

I’m told the bet’s name can be sourced back to longtime CBS, ESPN and NBC golf broadcaster Bob Murphy (though it’s likely existed in some version on golf courses for far longer than Murphy’s existence as a professional broadcaster or golfer). Calling a Murphy is akin to putting your cards directly on the table, for everyone to see. There’s no special sauce to including Murphies in your next round. All you need are at least two players who can agree on terms to begin the game. In its simplest form, a Murphy is one player’s bet on their own ability to get up-and-down from a given position.

The Rules

1) Set your amount

Before teeing off to begin your round, make sure you and your partner agree on how much each Murphy is worth. We recommend anywhere between $1-20 per Murphy, depending on your finances.

2) Decide whether you’re playing ‘optional’ or ‘automatic’

If you’re playing optional, your opponents are given the opportunity to “deny” your Murphy (not allow you to make money). If you’re playing automatic and you call a Murphy, your opponent must honor the bet.



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